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DL helicopter business denied business loan when chopper found not airworthy

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What was supported last month has been denied this month.

The Detroit Lakes Development Authority decided the proposed helicopter business Snow Owl Aviation has too many gray areas and unanimously voted to deny its request for a loan from the DLDA.

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It will still allow the business to make its case at the next DLDA meeting, though.

Last month, business owner Todd Centerwall said his helicopter wasn't working at the moment, but that it was still worth about $60,000. After checking around for second opinions, the development authority found that's not true.

City Administrator Bob Louiseau said he had talked with Centerwall about his business plan and the value of his grounded helicopter.

"Can someone repair it, make it functional, airworthy," Louiseau said is one of the main concerns now.

While he recommended deferring action on the loan request until the next DLDA meeting in two weeks, authority member Bruce Imholte made a motion to deny the request based on three things -- the business plan has too many holes, the city shouldn't be sharing first position on the title to the helicopter with West Central Initiative (which was used as collateral for the loans) and the fact that the helicopter wasn't working yet.

Authority member Dennis Winskowski agreed and seconded the motion saying he was originally in favor of the business, but that too much city staff time has been put into the issue and there are still "too many gray areas on this proposal."

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